Friday, April 26, 2013

On Walks

In the last couple days I have seen some goofy things while on walks. I'm a huge fan of going on walks. I like walking with friends because it's a great way to have some good conversations, and I like walking by myself because it's a nice way to clear my head. Another bonus of walking is being able to really take in the things around you. Sometimes those things are much more interesting than you realize if you're always just driving past them. Like these things I've seen in the last couple days:

I don't know what this is...

Up close I only had more questions

An insanely fat squirrel

Even zombies have to lock up their bikes.
A ghost wants to be a physics tutor
I would never hire a ghost to be my physics tutor, by the way. Just on principle.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Thoughts

Some of you may have seen this article on NPR yesterday about people surfing in the Great Lakes... in the winter! People are crazy. And here is the evidence:

All I know is this: when I am swimming in Lake Michigan in July, it's freezing.  I can't even imagine how cold Lake Superior (the deepest and most northern of the Great Lakes) is in the winter. And I never want to know.

Ludington State Park, Michigan

Now,  I love swimming in Lake Michigan in the summer months - it's one of my very favorite things to do in life. The waves are usually pretty gentle unless a storm is a brewin' in which case they go from gentle to super fun. I love floating on them and diving into them. I could stay out there in that water forever. Then at night when I'm laying in bed, I have that sensation that I'm still floating on a wave as I fall asleep - and I can't wait to go back the next day.

Ludington, Michigan - my happy place

However, getting used to the cold water that makes up Lake Michigan is another thing. Because I am not lying to you when I say it's cold. There are two ways you can get in:

Option #1. Run in as fast as you can, and as soon as it's deep enough, dive under. You are now acclimated.

Option #2. This option contains multiple steps and though it looks insane, is the choice of most swimmers:

1. Walk slowly into the lake, easing in gently.
2. Fold arms over chest, look back at people on beach and say, "it's cooooold!"
3. Yell at your friends who chose Option #1 to STOP splashing you!
4. Dread the part where the water reaches your crotchal region (medical term) because sister, it is going to be a jolt to the system.
5. Once the water gets closer to your chest, start talking yourself into just going under.
6. Resist.
7. At this point your friends should be taunting you, threatening to push you under. You can't fight it anymore. You must go under.
8. After submerging yourself, come back up as fast as possible and yell, "WHEW! That's COLD."
9. Swim around, happy and contented that you are now acclimated.
10. Have basically the best time of your life.

I can't wait for summer.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Religion

As many of you know, I'm a Mormon. I never keep this a secret but I try to not to be too "noisy" about it. I respect everyone's right to worship (or not worship) however they choose and wouldn't want people to feel I was pushing my beliefs on them. In fact, though we do proselytize our religion, respect for others' right to worship as they may is one of the 13 articles of faith we Mormon's live by:

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

It's sometimes hard for me to keep quiet about my religious beliefs because they are a big part of my life and they make me very happy. So, I hope you don't mind if I share this link with you to my "I'm a Mormon" profile page on is set up to answer questions about our faith and to help you and me connect with people who have similar interests as us.

Feel no pressure to check this page out. I just wanted to give you the opportunity to learn more about me and my beliefs if that is something you are interested in!

Here's a link to my page. 

If you have any questions about my profile, or anything else about my religion, feel free to contact me and ask. If you don't have any questions and never want to talk about it, but still want to be my friend, that's fine too!

Here are a couple of video profiles I particularly enjoyed from the site. I don't have a video on mine. But it's still awesome, don't worry (kidding).

I liked this one a lot:

And this one:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Aunt Date

This Saturday we (my sister, Katherine) and I had an aunt date with our nieces and one of our nephews. It was super fun. We had a relaxed aunt date this time around. The first part of our day was making ice cream and pizza for lunch!

Both were a HUGE hit with the kids. My niece, who is hard to please, took one bite of her pizza and said, "this is delicious!!" I decided to use a large cookie cutter and make the pizzas heart-shaped to increase the fun factor. I let the kids put their own toppings on. They loved it. Here's a link to the dough recipe. It's so easy and so, so good!

Before we started the pizzas though, we put together all the ingredients for the ice cream so the ice cream maker could do it's thing while we made lunch. This is the easiest ice cream recipe and tastes EXACTLY like a Wendy's Frosty! We made Oreo shakes with it and they were divine. The recipe is so simple:

1 container whipped cream (cool whip!)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 gallon chocolate milk

Blend it all up and put in ice cream maker! This is the result:

So, so yummy!!

After making our totally healthy (phf!) lunch, we went to the train depot and the kids got to play on the train. After that, we walked to the playground. Somehow the kids talked me into going on the merry-go-round. I hate that thing! I thought I was going to re-experience my milk shake and pizza, if you know what I mean. Luckily I survived.

The kids and Katherine on the train
Train conductor
If it hadn't been snowing, it would have been the perfect afternoon!

Friday, April 19, 2013

R whistle

Last night, as I mentioned in my previous post, my friend Sarah and I went to REI for a bike maintenance class. After eating dinner at Potbelly, we walked over to REI with about ten minutes to spare before the class started. I remembered that I needed to get a whistle and figured this would be a good place to look.

You might be wondering why I need a whistle? Well, here's the thing. My grandma hates when I go on walks or jogs after dark. Luckily, she doesn't realize how often I do it. But when I visit her and she asks, I can't lie to her. I try to tell her that I do not live in a dangerous area, but it doesn't matter to her. So I figured if I bought a whistle, per her request, she'd leave me alone about it. (She doesn't have to know if I actually take it with me.)

So Sarah and I looked around a bit, but being that it was REI, they didn't have any basic whistles. The simplest one they had had a compass and flashlight on it. For one thing, I've never used a compass in my life and don't completely understand how to use them. So why do I need it there, mocking me!?

So we walked up to the clerk, a nice looking guy in his early 20's, and I asked him if they had any basic whistles anywhere in the store. He said, "you're looking for a rape whistle?" Now, something about me - I find the word "rape" jarring. It's such a horrible act that I almost think of "rape" as a four-letter word (which it technically is, but you know what I mean). So my immediate reaction was, "no, just a basic whistle."

But of course, I guess he was right. I was looking for a rape whistle.

I feel really weird saying it though. It's like I could hear Buster Bluth in my head saying, "Like anyone would want to 'R' her."

Ridiculous, I know. And I'm not trying to make light of the subject, by any means.

So I kept trying to avoid using the term "rape whistle" while explaining what I was looking for. He kept asking me questions about what it was for and finally I said, "Fine! It's a rape whistle! But could you please stop saying 'rape'!?"

Then he starts telling me that the whistles with the compasses are great rape whistles, and that every date he goes on, he brings one with him. Then as he's running away from his date, he can use the compass to find his way home.

I laughed, but it felt weird to laugh.

He asked me where I live, and when I told him he laughed and said I'm paranoid, and that nothing would happen to me there. I tried to explain about my grandma's peace of mind but that didn't stop him from the teasing. But is any town really completely safe, in my (and my grandma's) defense? Then told me he had just the product for me. He disappeared into the back for a minute and came out with some bear repellent spray.

I said, "very funny." Then he tells me that what I really need is pepper spray, and proceeds to teach me how to use it and where to buy it.

He's probably right. Would anyone come running if they heard a whistle? I'm asking for real. 

Anyway, long story short: REI doesn't sell "R" whistles.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

America's High Five

Today is National High Five day, so I wanted to extend to you a high five from America's high five, Michigan! Tonight, after sitting through a long bike maintenance class, my friend Sarah gave me a high five. We had no idea we were observing a national holiday! High fives are in our blood. It's what happens when you're from a state that looks like a hand.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Thoughts

Some of you may be familiar with the Dove "Real Beauty" ads. I saw several people post this video yesterday and when I finally watched it, I was glad I did. Here is the video:

The first half of the day, I saw people posting this video, talking about how much it meant to them. But by the end of the day, I started to see posts of people criticizing it (articles such as this). While I understand their observations and complaints, it doesn't take away anything from the video for me. While the video may not be perfect, the overall point of it is what I could relate to: that we are too hard on ourselves and don't see ourselves clearly.

External beauty isn't the most important thing about who we are, of course. But how we see ourselves does affect us and the way we approach certain things (in my case, dating). And we often don't see our internal beauty either. If you were to describe someone you think is beautiful, would you say, "she's a little overweight, but she has nice eyes"? No. You'd probably say, "she has great eyes and she's kind to everyone."

What do you think of the video?

Ok, moving on to other Wednesday Thoughts.

Could you guys believe the amount of misinformation that was distributed about the Boston marathon bombings on Monday? It feels like any and all information I read on Monday was dis-proven on Tuesday.  I understand that the various news sources feel rushed to be the first to get the "scoop" but it felt really irresponsible. That being said, I hope all of you are ok and weren't anywhere near the horrific event.

In much less important thoughts, Rush is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tomorrow and I wish I could be there! Rush is one of those bands that, even though they've been around for 25 years, I've only gotten into in the past year or two. I love being introduced to "old" bands and having tons of music to listen to by them. It's kinda like being introduced to "Lost" now and being able to watch all the seasons at once.

What's a band you got into deep into their career?

Sorry to post two videos in one day but this is one of the best things I've seen from SNL in a long time. Here's part one:

part two:

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Just as I was drifting off to sleep last night, I found myself thinking, "you know what would make a really good blog post? Owls. I should write about owls."

I am so glad I can't dictate in my sleep and publish these "what was I thinking" blog posts. When I woke up I found myself wondering what I thought was so interesting about owls! What was I even going to say?


But anyway, like I was saying about owls, what is up with them!?

I saw an owl in real life once, in the wild, and it was a complete shocker. Have you ever stumbled upon an owl, unexpectedly? They are weird looking. The one I saw looked like this, only taller:

I gasped when I saw it, then I slowly backed away. I did not like the looks of it. It was MUCH bigger than I would have expected it to be. In my memory it was about three feet tall, though that can't be right. I don't know why it scared me so much sitting there on that branch. It just wasn't what I expected. Maybe because it wasn't one of the four owls I'm used to. Namely:

1. The hipster owl. I don't know why, but hipsters or wanna-be hipsters are obsessed with owls. Maybe because owls are too cool for school.

2. The wise owl. The owl I saw was not wearing glasses or a graduation cap. It wasn't natural.

3. The craft owls. Pinterest is full of owl tutorials. I'm on board with these. 100%.

4. The owl who's constantly showing off how he or she can turn their heads all the way around. The owl I saw was stationary. We ALL know owls are insanely braggy about their necks.

Up until that night when I saw the owl in the wild, I only knew about these four categories.  I never expected to see one sitting in a tree, just staring at me.

Have you ever seen an owl in the wild? Did it freak you out?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Thoughts

I spend far too much time thinking about the Jetsons and the things we still don't have that they had. The thing I covet the most is that machine that dumps George out of his bed in the morning onto a conveyor belt, takes him through the shower, blow dries his hair, dresses him, gives him his briefcase and sends him on his way. I need that. I need it bad.

Then there's that machine Judy and Elroy had that let you choose your dreams for the night. I want that too. I also want Rosie.

Guys, I'm going to be honest with you - I don't have a lot of "thoughts" today. It's been a drab, rainy, cold day. But the good news is there's a new Pysch on and I'm watching it right now. You should be too!

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Weekend Update

This weekend was nice. It was General Conference weekend, which is when members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints watch a broadcast for eight hours on a weekend (not all at once) of our church leaders speaking. This conference occurs once in the spring and once in the fall. It's something we look forward to, and is a very uplifting experience.

Besides that, I had a full weekend. On Saturday, I had an aunt date with my nephew. He wanted to go ice skating, since he had never been before.

After that, we met up with my nieces and my sister, Katherine, at Washtenaw Dairy - the best ice cream place in Ann Arbor.

This summer I'm going to ride in a starlight bike ride in Colorado. I saw a tutorial online for how to make a "galaxy" t-shirt, so I made one this weekend. Katherine made one too. Here are some pictures:

Mine is on the left. It was a really fun project!

I also made some cupcakes this weekend. Because they were for a baptism of my friend's son, I made some special chocolate suckers to put in them. CTR means "choose the right" and is a motto kids learn in primary.

And besides all of that, I got to spend time with this cute little guy:

It was a nice weekend! How was yours?

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's not ok!

You know how every now and then you hear a song that just totally sums up how you feel about a subject? You just think, "finally - someone put into words what I wasn't able to express myself!"

Well, that's how I felt when I heard  this song on one of my favorite shows, "Bob's Burgers."

He's right, it's not ok.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Thoughts

I'm kind of embarrassed about what I'm about to tell you guys but it was so interesting an experience, I just have to.

I mentioned in the past couple posts that I suddenly came down with bronchitis at the end of last week. It came on very suddenly and incredibly strong. Before I knew it, I was down for the count. Lungs filled up, asthma compromised, fever, shivering, Kleenex everywhere, etc. Just miserable.

I was so frustrated. My attitude about this illness has been anger and annoyance. I've already been sick several times in the last six months. Really sick. I had bronchitis in the fall, and the flu (the real flu) in January. I can't be sick again! First of all, what will other people think? That I'm faking it? That I'm exaggerating it? And should I call in sick to work? Will people be annoyed if I come in and seem sick?

I was just so frustrated.

So yesterday, I was taking the dog I'm staying with on a short walk, and I started thinking about those studies where people say mean things to something - a plant, typically - and over time the thing shrivels up and ceases to thrive simply because of the mean words and negative energy. So I thought, maybe I should start saying encouraging things to myself about healing instead of being frustrated with being sick.

This is the embarrassing part.

So as I walked the dog, I thought to myself things like,

You're doing such a good job of healing. 
You're fighting the germs and they're leaving your body. 
You're making amazing strides.
You're getting healthier and you're doing great at it.

Immediately my body felt more relaxed and less tense. As the day went on, I kept encouraging myself in this way. Today I feel about 50% better than I did yesterday.

Could it just be that I'm following the natural life span of this virus? Maybe. I just know that I felt physically calmer and healthier when I said encouraging things to myself rather than thinking about how my body betrayed me and how frustrated I was with it. I felt more optimistic and I believed I would be able to heal instead of just enduring, frustratedly.

I know a lot of people who are fighting viruses right now. Give your body a pep talk! It might help? Maybe it won't cure you (but maybe it will?) but it might help you relax and be less frustrated. Our bodies are amazing.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Other Weekend News

Besides trying to pretend I wasn't sick, I spent some time making hula hoops this weekend. I got an order for a 20 foot hoop! Unfortunately, it wouldn't work. When I held it up to my waist, the other side lay down on the ground. The tubing just wasn't strong enough. Here it is compared to the 12 footer (which is usually the largest size I make):

I ended up having to contact the person and talk them down to 16 feet. I'm dog-sitting for a sweet Chihuahua, who kept me company during the process:

Here are the finished hoops. I put a bunch of sugar in the larger one so it makes a nice "swish swish" sound as you twirl it around.

Once those were done, Ozzie and I cuddled up on the couch and watched some Duck Dynasty.You guys, what is up with that show? Do any of you watch it? It was the first time I'd ever seen it. It was equal parts funny and crazy. And it kinda made me wonder what squirrel tastes like.

Ozzie wasn't interested in Duck Dynasty at all. He was probably worried those guys would cook him up. I think his concerns are valid.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Illness

Being sick just straight up ticks me off. I get mad at my body, wondering why it's betraying me. I feel powerless and irritated. Near the end of last week, I felt an illness coming on but I thought that by ignoring it, it would go away. I have already been sick several times in the past six months and didn't want to "let it" happen again.

On Friday night, my sister, Katherine, came over to decorate Easter eggs with me. By the end of the evening I had the chills so bad I couldn't warm up or stop shaking, and I was moaning from my body aches. Lucky Katherine for getting to spend the evening with me, right? Here are some pictures from that evening:

Maybe I'm obsessed with googly eyes?

The dyes in vinegar. Katherine was getting these ready while I lie on the floor.
Our finished eggs!
After Katherine left, I took a hot bath in an attempt to warm up. It didn't work. So I found every blanket I could and that eventually warmed me up. The next day my attempts to ignore the situation were really starting to fail, and by Sunday morning, I went to urgent care. There, I was loaded up with antibiotics, steroids, and cough medicine - the good kind.

I was so sad because I didn't want to miss Easter dinner or the Peep diorama competition! I decided I would go for just a bit and not breath on anyone, which is what I did. I even made a Peep diorama, though I left before the voting, and to be honest, it was not my best work. I had zero energy and was feverish.

But enough about that. Here are the dioramas! Mine is the first one. It's a Pope Peep:

Peep Madness! By Barry and Dana (mostly Dana)
My aunt and Dana
My aunt and uncle's diorama  - I love this one!!

Katherine's "Peepunzel" in progress. I had to leave before it was done. :(
The winning diorama - I wasn't there to see this one either!
This is what it looks like when you look through the peep holes
2/3 doggies in attendance
Even though my Easter was a bust, health wise, I'm grateful I was able to be with family (both of the human and canine variety) and to think about the reason  for the holiday.

Today I am pumped full of medicine and am feeling a lot better. Thank goodness for medicine, doctors willing to work on holidays, and prayer! Not to mention family, especially my sister Katherine, who picked me up and drove me to Urgent Care. I was (and am) so grateful!

April Fools'

Every year I try to come up with something good to fool my co-worker and practically desk mate (considering how close together our desks are), Justin, on April Fools' Day. So far my VERY best prank on him was when I switched his gel fruit cup for my regular fruit cup and he ate it without realizing I'd made the switch! I was so proud. I was nearly giggling the whole time he was eating it.

I'll admit, it doesn't sound like a hilarious prank. You just had to be there.

This year I decided to use my very favorite craft item: googly eyes, and decorate  his desk with them after he left work on Friday:

He got me back this morning by taping my mouse to my mouse pad. I was so confused for that split second!!

Have you fooled anyone today? What's the best prank you've ever pulled, or has been pulled on you?